Bard. Zeus. Aramis. Apollo. Shaw. Welsh actor Luke Evans seems to play characters that often have short names, but powerful voices. He's on the rise recently and will break out big with his latest role as Bard the Bowman in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit trilogy. He didn't even get the job until halfway through shooting the first movie, then went down to New Zealand for a year and a half of filming, now he's about to go down in history as Lake-town's savior. I first met and interviewed Luke back in 2011 discussing Immortals, and I followed up with him for another interview this year about Bard, The Hobbit, Dracula, The Crow and more.
I always enjoy getting to talk to members of this industry, specifically the rare times when a veteran actor is made available, but every so often you just get blown away by someone. It doesn't happen too often, but last week it happened when I got the chance to speak to Bruce Dern at Paramount's offices in New York City. Obviously, the interview opportunity came about because of Nebraska, which begins its theatrical run this week, but honestly, wouldn't you use any excuse to talk to a legend like Dern? The man didn't disappoint, as he told some incredible stories (including a few about Alfred Hitchcock!), and paid me a rather stunning compliment. All-in-all it's one of the best interviews and most memorable film-related moments of my life.
"This is the big one that I wanted to do." Now showing in theaters everywhere is the film About Time, the third film (following Love Actually and Pirate Radio) directed by screenwriter/filmmaker Richard Curtis who resides in England. I've thoroughly enjoyed his past scripts and have immense appreciation for About Time, and was lucky enough to catch up with Richard a few weeks ago for an interview about his latest film starring Domhnall Gleeson & Rachel McAdams. While there is a time travel element to it, our chat covered casting, writing & time travel as well as rumors that this is the last film he'll be directing anyway. Read on!
Never give up. At the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year I caught two different screenings of a film that amazed me and left me floored both times I saw it - All is Lost, the second feature from writer & director J.C. Chandor. I first met J.C. at Sundance in early 2012 at the party for his first film, Margin Call, which premiered at the festival and went on to earn an Oscar nomination. He's back again this year with All is Lost, a film which stars Robert Redford and only Robert Redford, with only a handful of lines of dialogue, taking place entirely on a sailboat lost at sea. It's a beautiful film and I had plenty to ask J.C. Chandor about.
"Pure cinema is its own language." It's time to experience Gravity. After years of waiting, years of anticipation, it's finally arriving in theaters. The man behind this exhilarating experience is none other than Alfonso Cuarón, the talented Mexican filmmaker behind A Little Princess, Y Tu Mamá También, Prisoner of Azkaban and Children of Men. I have been a big fan of Cuarón for many years and have been waiting to meet him and interview him and I finally got the opportunity of a lifetime. Not only is he an incredibly nice, very humble filmmaker, but he spoke openly about many different topics, from sci-fi to cinema to spectacle.
"I don't want to survive... I want to live." Portraying the true story of Solomon Northup in Steve McQueen's newest film 12 Years a Slave, actor Chiwetel Ejiofor delivers an extraordinarily powerful, nuanced, emotional, and brutal yet heartfelt performance, one of the finest seen on screen this year. Chiwetel is yet another British actor with a unique name that many cinephiles have come to love, thanks to a diverse career with highlights including Dirty Pretty Things, Serenity, Kinky Boots, Children of Men, American Gangster, Redbelt and 2012 recently. I first met Chiwetel back in 2008 for an interview about Redbelt, and was lucky to catch up with him again in 2013 for a chat about playing Solomon Northup in 12 Years a Slave. Read on.
"If everyone decides you're not a person, you aren't, in a way." One of my favorite films that I saw at the 2013 Toronto Film Festival is The Double, the second feature from comedian-actor-filmmaker Richard Ayoade. I fell in love with his first film, Submarine (watch it on Netflix!), back at TIFF in 2010 and was lucky enough to catch the world premiere of The Double at TIFF this year. Based on the Fyodor Dostoevsky novella, Jesse Eisenberg stars as a timid worker whose life is thrown into disarray when his doppelganger shows up. I met up with Richard Ayoade in Toronto for a good chat about The Double recorded on Flipcam.
Rule the Dark. One of my all-time personal favorite sci-fi movies is Pitch Black, our first introduction to the character Richard B. Riddick, as played by Vin Diesel. I love everything about it and consider it one of few nearly perfect action sci-fi films. It was made independently back in 2001 for only $22 million. Jump ahead 12 years to 2013 and the next sequel titled Riddick is about to hit theaters, taking us on another adventure with the Furyan badass with eyes that see in the dark. I chatted with writer & director David Twohy, the filmmaker behind Pitch Black, Chronicles of Riddick and Riddick, about making the movies and using CGI.
After two years of anticipation, Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett's excellent home invasion horror film You're Next is hitting theaters today. Jeremy and I were some of the last US audience members to see it as an indie darling back at Fantastic Fest 2011 and we couldn't be happier to see it finally in theaters! On this special interview edition of The Golden Briefcase, hosts Tim Buel and Jeremy Kirk chat with one of the film's stars - AJ Bowen. AJ is an established genre actor who audiences have seen before in films such as The Signal, House of the Devil, Rites of Spring, Hatchet 2 and many others. Listen to the interview below.
Before I knew who Edgar Wright was, I was a die-hard Shaun of the Dead fan. It's one of films that really opened my eyes to the joys of horror; it's still one of my all-time favorites. Throughout most of early 2007, I spent my time chasing Hot Fuzz around the country, searching for ways to catch an early screening and get a glimpse at any footage for Edgar's next movie. Six years later and it's time to finish the Cornetto Trilogy with Simon Pegg & Nick Frost in The World's End. This time around I was lucky enough to be invited to the world premiere of the movie in London, and it's a near perfect conclusion to a hilarious but smart trilogy of original films made by real, movie-loving friends. I caught up with Edgar for a chat on Flipcam last week.
Back in early 2007, when I was attending my very first Sundance Film Festival, one of the first filmmakers I ever met was David Gordon Green. I had just caught the world premiere of his depressing but well-made film Snow Angels, and was honored to be speaking the guy behind that. Over the last six years I've followed David's career closely, falling in love with his mainstream stoner comedy Pineapple Express, questioning his choices but enjoying Your Highness & The Sitter, and finally coming to admire his return to indie form with two films this year - Prince Avalanche, starring Emile Hirsch & Paul Rudd, and Joe, starring Nic Cage & Tye Sheridan (premiering at TIFF). I met up with David in NYC recently for a chat about his latest movies.
"All these worlds are yours, except Europa. Attempt no landing there." There is a sci-fi film playing now that's one of the best in a long time. Similar to the upcoming Gravity, it's a film that might not even deserve the science fiction classification because it's much more science reality. The film is titled Europa Report, directed by Ecuadorian filmmaker Sebastián Cordero, and it involves a two-year long manned mission to Europa, Jupiter's sixth moon where many have theorized life might exist underneath miles of ice covering the surface. It's an excellent film that I've already seen multiple times and can't wait to watch again. Luckily, I was able to meet with Sebastián Cordero in person for a 17 minute chat about sci-fi and making this film.
"I like emotional experiences - when I go into an art museum, or listen to an album, or see a movie, I like to feel something deeply." One of my favorite indie films this year is The Spectacular Now (watch the trailer), a superb coming-of-age film starring Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley directed by James Ponsoldt. It first premiered at Sundance, where the year before Ponsoldt brought his second film Smashed, and in 2006 premiered his first film Off the Black. I love Ponsoldt's films and I finally met up with him in New York this past weekend for an interview. It ended up becoming a fantastic discussion on storytelling. One quote: "Don't judge your characters... Just look at them, let them bet he best advocate for themselves."
A few weeks ago, just before the release of Guillermo del Toro's Pacific Rim, Warner Bros brought a group of movie bloggers to the San Francisco offices of ILM (or Industrial Light & Magic), the Lucasfilm-owned visual effects (VFX) company. Anyone who grew up watching Star Wars and Indiana Jones knows ILM. I've visited this movie mecca once before in '08, but was still geeking out all day. After a presentation from Guillermo and the ILM team, I sat down with supervising animator Hal Hickel for a chat about Pac Rim and animating characters. Hickel joined ILM in the 1990's after working on Toy Story at Pixar; as a kid he wrote a letter with his ideas for a A New Hope sequel and got a rejection note from Gary Kurtz (seen here).